Sunday, June 16, 2024

Double trouble for Mawkhar Church: Where angels fear to tread the vestry


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It has come to our understanding and notice through a few elders that the special audit, appointed by the church, had brought to light matters relating to the money swindle cases in our church naming certain of its elders and a pastor being involved in the same. It is learnt that the report mentions the double entry of money, the disbursement of funds without any proper bills, the inadequacy of cash bills, the double payments, etc. While appreciating the initiative of the Church Committee to conduct a special audit, it appears that the Committee is hell bent on hiding the truth from the congregation after finding out the leaders’ involvement.
It is discouraging and skeptical to see the Church Committee or the Treasurer bestowing complete trust on the ex-chowkidar cum duftry even after they were aware of his mishandling funds and not paying the church’s electricity bill payment in 2014 or 2015.
The expenses made for the construction works of the Sohmylleng Mission, amounting to crores of rupees, had been done without any proper bills or invoices or cash memos. This is done by one of the newly elected church deacons whose qualification (self-claimed) is that of an architect or engineer. Later it was found out that he is a mere vocational trainee from a local institution in Shillong. In such a scenario, where is the Church building Committee (which comprises eminent and reputed engineers and architect members from the church itself)? This clearly shows that the Secretary of the Sohmylleng Mission Committee has by-passed the Church Building Committee and acted unilaterally on most financial transactions.
Also, from the special audit report, it was discovered that the Church had purchased the land at Sohmylleng in 2012 but what surprises us is that this land to this date still belongs to an individual (land owner) and not the person who actually sold the land. Now, my question is who owns the land and the assets in Sohmylleng Mission? Is it the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church or the said individual? This shows how callous and unbothered the Church had been towards the contribution of every hard-earned penny of each member of its congregation towards this Mission because till date there has been no financial report on the Sohmylleng Mission since its inception. Should we therefore, still have confidence in such a failed body of untrustworthy leaders?
This is a request to the Church Committee to take this matter up on a priority basis and take responsibility to resolve these issues that have torn apart the Church and brought about disunity and distrust amongst its members. Trust can be restored WHEN and IF only the Church Committee shows how truthful and transparent it is towards its flock and brings into account the ones who had been involved in these financial misconduct.
If the Church Committee still turns its deaf ears towards these issues, we as members of the Church will be forced to go beyond cordial requests and petitions, not holding back even if we have to face public disgrace.
We further request the Church Committee to call for a general meeting, to give a copy of the audit report to each member of the congregation so that all doubts and distrust can be resolved before the problem goes out of hand.
As members of the Church, we know it is our right to know the truth no matter how bitter it may be. Our Presbyterian Church had been taught and built on the principles of truth and transparency, and when these are no longer honoured or followed, we have no other way but to find justice through agencies like the electronic media, the press and even other legal means since the money misused is nobody else’s but ours as a Congregation.
Yours etc.,
Name withheld on request,
Via email

Why an ethno-centric name for a ‘State’ University?

Why should Meghalaya’s first State University be named as ‘Captain Williamson Sangma State University’ and not ‘Meghalaya University’ to make it truly inclusive? Can legislators from Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri Bhoi districts explain? The University is located in Garo Hills so is that not enough that it has to also be named after a Garo leader? Was it a ploy to first pass it in the Legislative Assembly as the ‘Captain Williamson Sangma Technical University Act, 2011 and then amended through the ‘Captain Williamson Sangma Technical (Amendment) Act, 2023’ to make it a State University, replacing the word ‘technical’ with ‘State?’ I can’t imagine how our elected legislators, all 36 of them, fully endorsed the nomenclature without application of mind. Or perhaps, they were all charmed and outwitted by the Garo friend heading the coalition government of MDA-2. The problem is the name and not the location; the State University can be located anywhere in the State. None of the institutes such as NEHU, IIM, NEIGRIHMS, NIFT, NIT, CAU, etc. bears any State leader’s name, be it Khasi or Garo, then why should the first State University be named as such? It should look inclusive by the very name itself.
Yours etc.
Prof. Lakhon Kma

Traffic congestion in Shillong – A student’s viewpoint

Through the columns of your esteemed daily, I wish to convey my thoughts on the state of traffic flowing through our city roads, or rather, not flowing at all. Traffic jams are now part and parcel of our lives and the honking of horns have become the soundtracks to our everyday existence. The traffic jams are such a big part of our lives that a quiet and peaceful street in the city is the most unusual thing.
As a student now studying at the Higher Secondary level, I have to leave home early to beat the traffic to reach school. But it seems to me that every time, the traffic beats me. This causes a big problem for all of us and especially for the ones living far away.
I do understand that everyone who is stuck in traffic and, thus, makes up traffic are all trying to do the same thing as I, and thus much blame cannot fall on them. But this begs the question, “Who is responsible for the traffic congestion?”
An easy way to answer the question is to blame the government. Yes, the government could do with the widening and maintenance of roads and ensuring proper traffic personnel situated at appropriate and highly congested areas during the rush hours. They could also help by improving the existing transport services to be safer and more consistent. We all will agree that this will immensely help in combating the menace of traffic. But the true blame can only go to the ones behind the wheel and the helmet-donning ninjas, weaving through the lanes. The true blame for all of this falls onto you and me.
The traffic problems of the city eventually boil down to the nature of mankind; the disobedience of the law, the arrogance of not letting another vehicle go past, the making of every possible nook and cranny into a parking spot, the lack of consideration for other people and their time. Only if we grow as a people and go through life with a mindset of co-operation and putting others before ourselves, will the problems of traffic disappear, and that of the society will too.
Yours etc.,
Aaron Mewanlam
Balambok Lyndem
A student of Class XII
St. Edmund’s Higher
Secondary School
Via email


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